This I Believe

Andrea - Grand Rapids, Michigan
Entered on February 6, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, love, setbacks

This choice is forever

I believe in the strength of a marriage. I believe in marriage based on sacrificial love. I believe that in marriage two people become one life and that choice is forever. I believe in marriage even though the world tells me that marriage is nothing but trivial. I do not speak from experience, only from my own observation into the lives of two of the people I hold close to my heart, the people that have given me life in more ways than one.

Five years ago my mother was paralyzed in an accident. She was left without mobility in her legs and confined to a wheelchair. For a woman who was actively athletic and accustomed to doing her own thing, being stuck in a wheelchair and dependent on others was not an easy thing to learn. She endured the trials with courage and faith, and I consider her my hero when it comes to taking on life. But when it comes to dealing with her accident, the real hero in the story is one who gets passed by because the accident didn’t happen to him: my dad. What most people don’t know is that the accident occurred on my dad’s birthday- while I was making birthday dinner.

In those days and weeks following his birthday, my dad could have easily packed up his things and left behind his family. He wouldn’t have been the first man to leave and not look back. In fact, many people probably wouldn’t have blamed him. Life was hard. His wife was strapped in a bed, no longer the agile do-all woman he had married. Instead, my dad held his head high as he went to work each day, then visited my mom at the hospital, and then came home to two kids and house full of dishes, laundry, and homework to do. He did this for weeks, doing everything he used to do and doing mom’s jobs too. My dad, who wore a suit to work each morning and sat behind a desk all day, even learned how to do things for my mom so the nurses wouldn’t have to. He cried and encouraged, and prayed with my mom, giving her the strength she needed to push on. He stood beside my mom not because it was the easy thing to do, not because there was some reward for doing it, but because the woman he married needed him and God had called him to do a job.

I believe in marriage and I believe in sacrificial love. I believe this because my parents showed me what marriage is supposed to look like. I believe because I know that my dad would give up his life for my mom, and in some ways he already has. I believe in marriage because I have to, because God calls me to, and because someday, I hope to marry a man forever, a man just like my dad.